I booked tickets to the Digital Revolution exhibition at The Barbican Centre before I knew they had this in the first room: towering multiscreen audiovisual retrogame amazingness. If I had known, I’d have brought a camera with better focus control.
The exhibition was a strange one: “digital creativity” was the theme, and that essentially amounted to “computers, eh?” — there can’t be many other exhibitions where you’d find Doublefine’s Broken Age sharing the same space as a Fairlight synthesizer and a dress with flashing LEDs on it. But there was a real charm to the strange mix of interactive exhibits. You’d turn a corner and find a video mirror-wall that showed smoke pouring out of your eyes, or be confronted by a giant pseudo-3D will.i.am head with eyes that followed you around the room (no joke). Completely mad, and more than a little bit awe-inspiring. I like to think it’s akin to what attending a World’s Fair was like.
But of course, my favourite bit was seeing them throw Manic Miner, Elite, Another World and Parappa the Rapper up onto the big screens. And give us chills with that PlayStation startup sound.
Bonus: here’s a photo of Tim Schafer looking disgusted that the Broken Age exhibit has to share space with another game.